Wednesday, June 19, 2013

From left to right, panelists Todd Terrell,
Vaughn Gilbert, Mimi Limbach and Amy Lientz
Yesterday, a panel of three terrific communicators shared their insights and best practices at the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Annual Meeting in Atlanta. I was privileged to be the moderator for the Communicating for New Nuclear Facilities session. Their unanimous advice – be as transparent as you can about your organization’s plans and operations. Don’t hesitate to reach out to critics. Keep all of your stakeholders apprised of what you’re doing. And continuously build community and policymaker support.

Nuclear Development Communications Director Todd Terrell discussed the extensive outreach that Southern Company conducts on a routine basis, along with the important role that the employee speakers’ bureau plays in its outreach. And he spoke about the degree to which the company works to be transparent, including holding periodic meetings with critics whose agendas  include environmental, nuclear and policy issues. 

Westinghouse External Communications Director Vaughn Gilbert shared the company’s excellent new broadcast commercial, which soon will be shown in a variety of venues including Washington, D.C. He described the company’s decision to focus on stakeholders outside the nuclear energy industry whose support will be important to the industry’s future success. And Westinghouse, too, has reached out to critics.

Amy Lientz, director of communications and government relations for the Idaho National Lab (INL), described the challenges the Lab faces in modernizing critical aging facilities and building new ones in an era of tight budgets, sequestration and continuing resolutions from Congress. The INL, too, works for transparent communications, while recognizing that some actions – for example, those involving individual personnel matters – must remain private.  And she recognized the unique challenges of timely communications from government entities. 

ANS members engaged all three panelists in a lively discussion. And the audience learned that communications best practices apply to very different kinds of organizations.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

PCG Welcomes Jackie Carpenter as Project Coordinator

Jackie Carpenter, a recent PCG intern who graduated from Bucknell University this spring, has joined our team as a project coordinator. A native Marylander, she majored in political science and environmental science, and minored in history. Jackie will be supporting a variety of PCG clients, including AREVA, the Electrical Safety Foundation International and TerraPower.

In addition to immersing herself in the world of public relations and communications, Jackie enjoys crafting, running, baking, reading and rock climbing. And if you’re looking for a fellow “Game of Thrones” fan, look no more. She’s already anxiously awaiting the next book and TV season.

Please join us in welcoming Jackie to the team!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Communicating Effectively in the US and Abroad

One of the most rewarding aspects of the work we do is having the opportunity to train professionals with communications skills and then see them advance in their abilities to connect with important audiences. We get to take students from being nervous and often unfamiliar with the dos and don'ts of messaging and bridging, to confident spokespeople ready to address media and stakeholders.

My colleague Karen Heinold and I had the pleasure of serving as instructors to 30 maritime officers from countries spanning the world last week at the International Maritime Officers School at the U.S. Coast Guard training center in Yorktown, Va. 

For three full days, we taught the basics of interacting with media, messaging and bridging techniques, and the principles of risk communication.

In addition to our communications course, these officers receive an in-depth overview of U.S. Coast Guard organization, planning and management of its missions during their multi-week stay in the United States. 

At the close of our course, students graciously shared compliments and kind words of gratitude for the experience. We're equally grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the group and are eager to see our graduates put their skills to good use in the future.